Beijing, 6 weeks learning the language...

Beijing Travel Blog

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Ok so ive finally decided to sit down and write something on here. Ive been in China 6 weeks now, all of that in Beijing up until yesterday (currently in Wuhan for the day). So before I forget everything Ill write some of the stuff ive been up to (actually most if has just been everyday things and i may have forgotten many details and first impressions but we'll see...)

- So I arrived in Beijing and basically had everything laid out on a plate for me. Id signed up to do 4 weeks full time mandarin study, so through the school I was able to organise all my accomodation and airport pickups etc.
This made the culture shock easier to take.

- The nightlife in Beijing was really fun. In the first week we (me and the other students at the school - mainly brits and europeans) went to a club called 'propaganda' which kinda became my second home for a while. 5 quid entry then free drinks inside all night. Ace! Theres tons of bars/small nights clubs popping up all over the place and several big night clubs.

- I definately enjoyed the language classes, the teachers were ace, really helpful with all things China.  Ive had quite a few very sketchy conversations with chinese taxi drivers,or chinese students who can fill in the gaps with english. Ill definately keep at it for a while I think. Kinda strange considering how much I hated languages at school...

- Went to the Great wall on the first weekend, again organised by the school which made it really easy.
We went to the Simatai section which is the second most common section,so not as busy or completely restored as the Badaling section. I thought it was good and worth seeing but it didnt blow me away, maybe it would have done if the weather hadnt been so hazy. From most parts you can see a freeway which kinda ruins the ancient feel.

- I didnt really do many other touristy things for the whole 6 weeks. I left the summer palace and forbidden city until yesterday and the day before... Ill put some photos up soon.

hmmm...what else?

Just lots of little things were interesting, like the fact theres always people selling fruit or clothes by the side of the road.  Shouldnt forget to mention the cheap dvds either...50p each. Or less than 30 quid for every southpark ever. I had to show some restraint though coz theres only so much I can carry!

-Its not too obvious that this is a developing country and a communist state.
.. apart from the ridiculous number of people they set to any task. Building work going on on the street i lived seemed to have about 10 guys laying each brick, with really basic tools. Then theyd sleep every afternoon. Every afternoon youd have to negotiate a path through the sleeping builders.  Bars, clubs, restaurants, supermarkets, shops all had at least twice the number of staff we'd use.

-The pollution in Beijing was really bad. I think I can remember seeing blue sky on 4-5 days during the whole 6weeks. You do kind of get used to it though I wonder what it does to your lungs. Its also been very very hot, 34+ degrees everyday.

Oh yeah I got stuck in a nice little tourist scam as well. Two chinese people started talking to me in one of the big shopping centres.
This in itself is not strange because loads of chinese people enjoy practising their English, plus I also wanted to practise a bit of Chinese. Anyways they helped me find one of the shops I was looking for and said we could go to a teahouse for a bit. Again i checked to see if anything was suspicious and decided I wouldnt let them leave the bill with me, we'd split and if they could afford it, I could too. So we had this thing called a 'tea ceremony'  where we try lots of different teas in a really traditionally decorated place, most of the teas were really really good. Had some fruit as well. Anyways when the bill came out it was around 300 pounds. No amount of tea costs that much! I was stuck because they paid their share (apparently they get it back later though), so I needed to pay mine or create a bigger scene than it was worth. So I paid 100pounds worth and left. Its just a way of forcing business to overly expensive tea houses. Nevermind eh??

So thats all I can really think of for Beijing for now, had a great time and met loads of nice people. So thats all thats happened in the past, I can start writing about the present now...
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This was my class, including both …
This was my class, including both…
photo by: Deats